When Jason Kidd was initially hired as an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, there was concern that his presence would overshadow head coach Frank Vogel. Kidd’s first two stints as a head coach were ripe with drama so it was fair to wonder if he’d bring some to Los Angeles. That didn’t end up being the case as he was a strong assistant for the team and ended up getting hired to be the next head coach of the Dallas Mavericks this offseason.
With Kidd no longer on staff, the Lakers were quick to replace him with another coach with head coaching experience. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team is hiring former New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale.
Fizdale was a top assistant for the Miami Heat for nine years and was on staff when LeBron James helped lead the team to two championships between 2012 and 2013. He hasn’t been on a coaching staff since he was leading the Knicks back in 2019.
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Fizdale’s Head Coaching Experience Didn’t Go Well
Fizdale’s last gig was a head coaching job so he hasn’t been an assistant in some time. He was once a well-respected basketball mind but poor stints in Memphis and New York soured his reputation. In his first season coaching the Grizzlies, he led them to a 43-39 record and got them to the playoffs. However, he was fired after a 7-12 start to the next season and had serious issues with the team’s star Marc Gasol.
He quickly got another head coaching with the Knicks but that didn’t go well. He went 17-65 in his first year and was fired after a 4-18 start the next season. Since then, Fizdale hasn’t gotten another chance. The Lakers will offer a great opportunity to rehabilitate his career. Kidd wasn’t exactly a hot head-coaching candidate before joining the team after failed stints with the Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets. Also, Fizdale’s past relationship with LeBron should lead to him having an easier time adjusting to the new staff. This hire makes a lot of sense for Los Angeles.
What’s Going on With Vogel’s Contract?
Fizdale is a smart hire for the Lakers but they still have a big issue with their coaching staff. Head coach Frank Vogel has done enough in his two seasons with the team to warrant a contract extension. He’s led the team to a title and steered them to the playoffs this season despite missing LeBron and Anthony Davis for much of the year. However, there’s been no word recently that he’s about to get paid.
While ESPN reported shortly after the season ended that the Lakers planned to engage Vogel on extension discussions, and most expect Vogel will return with a new deal before next season, it has surprised some within the organization that the coach hasn’t received that deal already.
There’s no reason to believe that the Lakers aren’t happy with Vogel’s performance. That said, it’s notable that they haven’t cut a deal with him yet. It will be very telling if they head into next season and let Vogel play out his contract.